Marcos: PH has 'no territorial conflict with China'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24)— The Philippines has "no territorial conflict" with China, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said on Saturday as he reiterated his stand in asserting the country's sovereign rights.

"The position that the Philippines takes is that we have no territorial conflict with China," Marcos said during his meeting with the Asia Society in New York City. "What we have [is] China claiming territory that belongs to the Philippines."

"So this is the position we take with our American partners, we have promoted that position," he added. "We have also made it very clear to our friends in Beijing that this is the way we feel about it."

The East Asian giant has repeatedly rejected the 2016 arbitral ruling that junked its sweeping claims in the South China Sea.

The President repeated his earlier pledge to protect Philippine territory, but noted that his administration will continue working with concerned parties to resolve issues.

"On our part, we will continue to work with China and other claimant states with the end in view of resolving the issues involving the West Philippine Sea through diplomacy and through dialogue," he said.

Allies in US, ASEAN members

Marcos, however, admitted that the Philippines would not be able to match the military "strength" and capability of China if conflict erupts.

But he said this is where the nations' allies would come into play.

"And that's why I think that ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is going to have to play a stronger role in all of these discussions and in trying to again keep the peace...but continue to engage China," Marcos stressed.

The chief executive also cited the country's partnership with the United States, underscoring its importance in helping promote peace, security, and law-based order.

Marcos, who is in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly and other engagements, also met with US President Joe Biden.

The two leaders tackled issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea and human rights, among others, and vowed to maintain their countries' solid ties.

READ: Marcos pivots to US: 'We are partners, allies, and friends'